"This is the third time in a number of years that I picked up a camera to take a portrait,” says Lorna Simpson, the award-winning photographer and multimedia artist who captured a series of portraits of her female contemporaries for Vogue. Her subjects span an array of mediums, identities, and professions—Pakistani sculptor Huma Bhabha sits in a shadow, assistant curator of contemporary art at the Whitney Museum of American Art Rujeko Hockley reclines in a shaft of sunlight on the stairs—but they all have one prominent thing in common: Simpson’s breathtaking admiration. “Some I have known forever, some not so long, and some whom I have not met personally until now,” Simpson says of photographing all 18 women in her personal studio in Brooklyn.
The space, already a place where much of her own work has come to fruition, has been near and dear to Simpson for 12 years. It was designed by the British-Ghanaian architect David Adjaye, whose most recent work was envisioning the National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall, in Washington, D.C. The fact that Simpson’s studio serves as a multiuse hybrid (a place for work, mentoring, gatherings, celebrations, business, archiving, and contemplation) mirrors her affinity for her subjects: “For many of the women in my life, art is central to their life and work.”